tv PBS News Hour PBS September 9, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
>> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. a florida pastor said he won't burn korans, in exchange for relocating an islamic community center away from near ground zero in new york city. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, ray suarez talks to counter- terrorism experts brian fishman and mohammed hafez about the foreign and domestic security risks that have increased because of the burning plan. >> lehrer: then, jeffrey brown runs a debate about extending bush era tax cuts for the wealthy. >> woodruff: margaret warner talks to rajiv chandrasekaran of "the washington post" about corruption in the afghan banking system. >> lehrer: plus, a report on why some veterans with traumatic brain injuries haven't received purple hearts. >> it feels like nobody cares, like i was left behind. and one of the things you always learn from the very beginning is never leave a soldier behind.
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>> lehrer: a florida pastor claimed his congregation would not ignite a muslim holy book in florida on saturday. he said that was in exchange for an islamic community center moving its location. but an imam in new york said there was no deal. ray suarez has our story. >> suarez: the minister's announcement came at a press conference late this afternoon. >> i will be flying up there on saturday to meet with the imam at the ground zero mosque. he has agreed to move the location. that, of course, cannot happen overnight, but he has agreed to move that. we felt that that would be a sign that god would want us to do it, that the american people do not want the mosque there and, of course, muslims do not
want us to burn the koran . the imam has agreed to move the mosque. we have agreed to cancel our event on saturday. >> suarez: the pressure on pastor jones from around the world had been increasing on him throughout the day. just this morning, president obama added his voice to those of international leaders asking jones to call it off saying it would be a "recruitment bonanza for al qaeda." >> as commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the united states, i just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in iraq, who are in afghanistan. >> reporter: in response to fears of retaliation, the state department issued a travel warning today for citizens abroad. it also ordered u.s. embassies around the world to ramp up
their security in preparation. in pakistan and afghanistan today protestors burned u.s. flags and shouted anti-american slogans in anticipation of the weekend burning. >> (translated): if they burn the koran than, god willing, all the islamic organizations will join together and give a lesson to americans-- jews and christians. the sky and the people on earth will watch this happening. >> suarez: back in washington, a department of defense spokesman said a strong message of disapproval had already been relayed to jones. >> i think the message is out there loud and clear. it's impossible to miss the message that is coming from the leaders of the united states military, the united states government, our diplomatic leaders, some of our... from all walks of life, frankly. >> reporter: at a peres conference held by the council on american islamic relations, speakers called on jones to examine the koran before burning it. >> education is very, very important.
we believe that he has not given himself a chance to read and reflect on the koran. however, we believe in freedom of expression but also with that comes responsibility. we are very concerned that this may lead to hate crimes against muslims. >> suarez: an imam from the islamic society of central florida spoke alongside jones at the press conference today. >> i have conveyed my deep concerns to pastor jones and the gravity of the situation. and because he does not like to see anyone get hurt because of an action being taken here and because i, like many americans-- muslims and non-- feel that the placement of a mosque near the ground zero
location is unnecessary. >> suarez: the imam said he would accompany jones to the new york meeting this week end to discuss relocating the mosque. for more on this story, we're joined by mohammed hafez, an associate professor in the department of national security affairs at the naval postgraduate school. and brian fishman, a counterterrorism research fellow at the new america foundation. both have written extensively on islamic movements. professor hafez, pastor jones has stepped back from international burn a koran day. does that announcement come in enough time to forestall what might have been bad effects ? >> well, it may have. but i think it has cast a pal on muslim celebrations which are about to take place tomorrow. but my concern is that this episode may have passed but others are now going to seek to emulate what the pastor has
proposed to do largely to garner national media attention as well as attention of the president and those in high command. >> suarez: brian fishman, what do you think? is the damage already done? >> well, i think forestalling and preventing the images of burning korans is useful and will prevent some of the radicalization that might occur. it certainly means that al qaeda can't use those images in its propaganda. it's worth noting here that sometimes perception is more important than reality, especially for jihadi and al qaeda recruiters and they're going to go out-- and i wouldn't be surprise that they argue even if there are no korans burn they that they argue that they were borned. so we'll see some radicalization despite the fact this may not go forward. >> suarez: professor, do you agree? even in the absence of burning koran this is incident can be a tool in somebody's hands ? >> i certainly would agree with what brian has said. and what we have to remember is this that this
episode is taking places in the context of a broader vitriolic discourse around muslims and the islamic faith. this is taking place in the context of people questioning whether an islamic center should be built in lower manhattan and accusations that president obama is a muslim and presumably that is a bad thing. and so the damage in some ways has already been done and, yes, the radical extremists will exploit this to promote their narrative that there is a clash of civilizations between islam and the west and that the west is out there to humiliate muslims. >> suarez: at the same time, professor, the president of the united states, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, religious leaders from many different faiths in the united states have denounced this activity in advance of it happening. is that not heard at all in those same circles that you're talking about being radicalized
by the argument over burning koran? >> well, i think those messages are very important and i commend the president and all the individuals that have stepped forward, including general petraeus, secretary of defense gates and secretary of state hillary clinton for making these very important announcements. the challenge that we have, though, is that there is a broader context to this episode of what was proposed to take place and that is increasing american distrust of muslims. there's suspicion being cast on the islamic identity and this despite the fact that muslims generally speaking have been very loyal to america. most of those who attacked us on 9/11 or before that have come from outside of the islamic communities in the united states. and so that's why i think... where i think the real danger. that broader discourse around this episode is tearing asunder islamic... muslim-american relations in the united states.
>> couric: brian fishman, more on that very outspoken reaction from american leadership. does that indicate to you... the fact that this wasn't done through back channels, that it was done publicly and internationally, that they were getting a lot of feedback about threats around the world? >> yeah, it does. this had to be done, in my view. there is an argument out there that says the president and general petraeus and a slew of domestic political leaders should not have raised the profile of this issue. but, frankly, the first time that i became aware that there was a pastor that planned to burn korans in florida was on a jihadi web site more than a month ago when there was sort of a short news article from a british newspaper that had mentioned this and it was being discussed by the jihad disand already then, more than a month ago, there were posters on these web sites saying "you know what? we need do something, this is a big deal, this changes the the way i look at things." so i think it's very important for our political leaders and civic leaders to come out and not only denounce efforts like
this one in florida but really raise the standard of debate. we don't talk about... the issues of muslims in america and the issues of terrorism... the larger issues of terrorism in a very sophisticated way. often times these are politicized. the rhetoric that is used is really, really rancorous and we need to do a better job. those political leaders need to raise the stan discord that when somebody like somebody like this pastor in florida does something crazy it stands out everybody more. >> suarez: as we reported earlier and before we go, the issue of building an islamic cultural center in lower manhattan has now been joined to this question of burning korans in florida. professor, were they already joined in the opinions of viewers outside america? in the muslim world? >> well, they were joined, but not this the way that the pastor is suggesting they be linked.
the fact is we have a person like sarah palin and baner who came on t.v. and said that the... you know, portraying muslims as being extremists for seeking to build an islamic center, one to promote cultural understanding and bridges, interfaith communities. by linking those issues in many ways they have taken what is bad and what is good and linked it together. i think that is really unfortunate. what we have here are two separate... entirely two separate discussions that need to take place. one on islamic center that cease seeking to promote cultural understanding and one that is simply seeking to promote and provoke hatred and distrust and, indeed, violence between communities. >> couric: frowrd, governor palin denounced the attempts to burn the korans in florida and, for the record, just before we went on the air this evening the director of the cultural center in lower manhattan that's
seeking to be built denied that there was any deal to move the center and the developer who owns the land said there was no deal as well, though pastor jones says he is flying to new york for further consultation. gentlemen, thank you very much. >> couric: >> thank you. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": tax cuts for the wealthy; banks, politicians and corruption in afghanistan; veterans with brain injuries and dick armey on the tea party. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: a powerful suicide bomb hit a russian market today, killing at least 17 people. the bomb was packed with metal bars, bolts and ball bearings, and tore through the entrance to a busy market in north ossetia. more than 130 people were wounded. it was one of the worst attacks in years in the north caucasus region, which has been gripped by violence from two separatist wars. there was no immediate claim of responsibility for today's attack. jailed american hiker sarah shourd will be set free on saturday.
that word came from iran's envoy to the u.n. mission today. shourd told her mother in a phone call last month she has serious medical problems. she is one of three american hikers held prisoner in iran for 13 months, after being arrested along the iraqi border. it is common in the islamic world to mark the end of the holy month of ramadan by releasing prisoners. a white house spokesman today repeated a call for iran to release all of the americans. a wildfire raging in the rugged foothills of colorado is now 30% contained. fire officials said the four- day-old fire has already burned 10 square miles northwest of boulder, and destroyed nearly 170 homes. high winds gusting up to 60 miles an hour were expected later, and fire officials cautioned that could reverse any progress. >> the wind event tonight, we could be off to the races. all it takes is just one spark outside and that's a new fire. and with the winds tonight it could be off to the races. not saying that it will, it
takes a chain of events to get that to happen. >> sreenivasan: local authorities also said all of the nine people reported missing earlier have now been accounted for. the leftovers of tropical storm hermine brought more flooding to parts of texas and oklahoma. heavy rains in north and central texas killed two motorists and prompted more than 100 high water rescues. and authorities said the death toll could increase. at least four people are still missing after being swept away in the san antonio and austin areas. meanwhile, clean-up efforts were underway from several powerful tornadoes that touched down near dallas and in southern oklahoma. federal funding of stem cell research can go ahead for now. that was the decision of a three-judge panel at a federal appeals court in washington. the judges said they want more time to deal with issues in the government's appeal. funding for some stem cell research was put on hold last month when a district court ruled the research destroys human embryos. the american civil liberties union will ask the supreme court to review a case challenging a c.i.a. program that flew terror
suspects to secret prisons. yesterday, the 9th u.s. circuit court of appeals threw the case out, citing national security risks. it was filed by five terror suspects arrested just after 9/11, who claim they were flown around the world to secret prisons. the appeals court reinforced the power of the president to invoke the "state secrets privilege" to stop lawsuits involving national security. more than 33,000 people died on the nation's highways in 2009 but that number is almost 10% lower than 2008. the department of transportation said such low numbers have not been seen since the 1950s. government and auto safety experts attributed the drop to better technology, more safety- conscious drivers and tougher enforcement of drunk driving laws. on wall street today, stocks rose on stronger-than-expected job data. the dow jones industrial average gained 28 points to close at 10,415. the nasdaq rose seven points to close at 2,236. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim.
>> lehrer: and to one of the big policy debates of the coming months: whether to extend bush- era tax cuts. jeffrey brown has the story. >> brown: the tax cuts in question were signed into law by president bush in 2001 and 2003. unless extended by congress, they'll expire on december 31st. and rates would rise across-the- board. this week president obama announced he favors keeping the current rates for the majority of american households: those with incomes below $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals. but the president wants to end the cuts for top earners, whose income tax rate would go from 35% to the pre-2001 standard of 39%. republicans are resisting that move. >> they say no. and the reason is they're holding all those middle class folks who need tax relief hostage right now in order to provide tax breaks for the top 2% wealthiest americans.
>> brown: g.o.p. leaders have called for extending all the cuts for at least two years. arguing that too many americans will be hurt at a time of economic stagnation. >> this particular tax increase he has in mind that he will characterize as a tax increase on the wealthy, in fact, impacts 50% of small business income, 25% of the workforce. >> brown: the issue is already being hotly debated in mid-term election races, and will likely come to a head after the november results are in. and we hold our own debate on this question now, with heather boushey, senior economist at the center for american progress-- a liberal policy group in washington. and jeffrey miron, an economist at harvard university and a senior fellow at the libertarian cato institute. heather boushey, what's the economic argument for doing what the president wants and letting the tax cuts for top earners lapse? >> well, the important thing right mow is that the economy still needs customers. we still need people to go out
there and spend money. and what the president has proposed is that we keep those tax cuts for middle-class families, the families that are going to spend the money, those extra dollars in their pocket you let them expire for the folks at the very top. we saw over the 2000s that those tax cuts for the wealthiest americans did not lead to strong economic growth, did not lead to strong investment, did not lead to strong job gains. and so we know that those folks aren't going to spend that money. they're not going to do as much as focusing those dollars on the middle-class where it can have the most bang for the buck. >> brown: that money does not stimulate the economy. that's the argument. >> that's the argument. that if you keep tax cuts for the wealthiest, it won't stimulate the economy but will add to the deficit. and really what we have to be focused on right now what economists would call the opportunity cause. we spend those dollars on tax cuts if for wealthiest, there's things we can't do with them, such as spending money on infrastructure or small business tax cuts that would really help boost the economy right now. >> brown: jeffrey miron, you favor extending all the tax cuts.
what's the evidence that it does stimulate the economy? especially those top earners? >> well, we've had lots of evidence on the short-run stimulative effects of tax cuts. the best evidence is recent evidence from david roamer and christina roamer who just resigned as president obama's chair of the council of economic advisors. they found very strong positive effects on the economy from tax cuts. whether they were middle-class, upper income or whatever. the second thing i would emphasize is that it's not just about the short run. it should also be about setting the right incentives in place for the longer term. and the high rates on high-income earners are a disincent i have to work. they're a strong incentive to try to evade or avoid taxes by having income paid in through ways which are not taxed and we should remember that it's not just the marginal rate from the federal income tax that high- income earners face. they face state income tax rates. they're going to face higher rates from the federal government because of new taxes in obama-care.
so you're going to have marginal rates in excess of 50%. those are serious disincentive to effort and a serious incentive to hide income. that's very bad for the economy, both in the short term and in the long term. >> brown: heather boushey, respond to that but also the other question out there, who is going to be most impacted. partly this is a question of the small businesses. how would the impact be? >> well, the tax cuts we're talking about today are not going to affect the kind of small businesses that you and i think about. the mom-and-pop store on the corner of my block. those typically aren't the folks who are going to be affected. 97% of tax filers who have small business income won't be affected by these tax cuts, by allowing the tax cuts to expire. so it's that top 3% who really bring in the bulk of the money that will be affected. so... but i think, again, the thing that we have to remember is where this economy is right now, we are still a situation where we don't have enough demand. what we see in survey after survey from small businesses is
that they're not seeing enough sales. they're wondering where are the customers coming through my doors a and so we need to target our policy response to help those small businesses see sales. and giving... extending the tax cuts for middle-class families will help put more customers in the dmoor way t way targeting at the top end won't do. >> brown: the question, then, why not end all the tax cuts? why not end it for the middle klass as well? your argue. there is the deficit question? >> certainly, but we know folks in the low and middle-classes are more likely to spend every dollar that they get because they don't have a lot of wiggle room. they don't have a lot of savings. they don't have a lot of excess money. so when they get that dollar, when they get to keep that extra dollar in those tax cuts they'll be more likely to spend them. those folks at the very top, they've got a lot of excess resources and so they're not going to spend that full dollar. >> brown: jeffrey miron, where do you come on the small business question of the impact here. who would be impacted? >> well, it's certainly right
that large majority of the things that we typically are thinking about when we say small business they are unlikely to be affected by the tax increases on the high-income earners. so a small mom-and-pop grocery store does probably not have an income high enough to be affected. but there's a large amount of income. a recent estimate published in the "wall street journal," roughly 50% of income earned by small-ish companies, these are things that are subchapter "s" corporations, partnerships and so on that are neither the large corporations nor the very, very small mom-and-pops. they earn a lot of the income that would be affected by these higher tax rates and these are precisely very energetic startup types of companies that contribute a lot to hiring, that contribute a lot to entrepreneurship, that contribute a lot to innovation. so these higher tax rates are a disincentive for them to be able to engage in n those activities and contribute in an important way to the economy. >> brown: staying with you, what about the other question that heather raised earlier about the opportunity... what she called the opportunity
class. and we've seen the president has put some other proposals on the table, some business tax incentives that he wants to do. why not use the money from what he wants to do for other things? more directly to help businesses >> well, first, i don't think they're mutually exclusive. the permanent credit for research and development i have zero objection to whatsoever. first of all, i like that fact that it's permanent so it gives businesses a long-term plan that they can work with. they know what to expect. they don't have to think about doing something right now because some tax credit's going to expire even though it might make sense for them to postpone it and do it when it's more advantageous for them. the full expensing of investment which will take place in 2011, but only 2011 under the president's proposal, that's in the right direction and it does encourage more investment to happen sooner. but it mainly is going to shift when investment occurs because businesses are going to have to pay for that investment by... we're going to be able to deduct
that anyway by depreciation allowances and the only benefit, therefore, is they that don't have to borrow in order to do the investment now. but interest rates are so low that's a very small effect. i have no objection in principle but i don't think that's going to do very much to stimulate the economy. >> brown: and heather boushey, your argue system what the president is proposing vis-a-vis these business incentives is a more direct stimulus? >> well, certainly it's more direct than just giving money to rich americans. rich americans aren't necessarily the same people who create jobs and targeting money at businesses certainly targets it better . people that are doing job creation. the other thing on the plate is directing money towards infrastructure which gets at the long-term issues we've been talking about. we need to make those investments in our economy and a lot of those investments in infrastructure, in roads and railways and airports, these are all things that help businesses large and small, transport people and goods and services around our economy. so that's all... those are all the kinds of investments we need to be making which will also at
this juncture boost job creation >> brown: this debate will continue and we'll follow it. jeffrey miron and heather boushey thank you both very much. >> woodruff: now, a bank in trouble in a country riddled with accusations of high level corruption. margaret warner has the afghan story. >> warner: for more than a week now, nervous afghans have lined up outside branches of one of the nation's largest banks, trying to withdraw their deposits. >> ( translated ): after we heard the news, we have come to kabul bank to close my account, but it is very busy here, a lot of people are here to withdraw their money. >> warner: the customers acted after kabul bank posted losses of $300 million, and saw its two top officers were ousted. u.s. and afghan officials say the bank made unorthodox loans to well-connected elites and risky real estate investments in dubai.
the bank has close connections to president hamid karzai. the top shareholders-- former chairman, sherkhan farnood, and former ceo, khalilullah fruzi-- helped finance and advise karzai's 2009 re-election campaign. two other top shareholders, and beneficiaries of bank loans, are the president's brother, mahmoud karzai, the vice president's brother, hassen fahim. the government insists it's central bank will do what's needed to keep kabul bank from collapsing. >> my message to all the depositors is: their money is safe, the government of the afghanistan bank is standing behind kabul bank, we know the money is there, they must not panic. >> warner: state department spokesman p.j. crowley said this week the u.s. won't be involved in any bailout. >> we are there to provide support as needed, but we do not contemplate employing any u.s. taxpayer funds to rescue the
bank. for more, we go to rajiv chandrasekaran, a senior correspondent and associate editor of "the washington post" who has reported extensively from afghanistan. welcome back. first, just a little context here. how important is kabul bank to afghanistan's overall financial system and stability? >> it's vitale important. it is the largest bank in the country. it has a network of branches and a.t.m.s. but one thing that makes it centrally key in this whole international effort to stabilize the country that kabul bank is the bank that is used to pay the salaries of thousands of police officers and soldiers across the country. and if there's a disruption to that, there could be broad scale chaos in the country. >> warner: how did it get into such bad shape? >> this is characteristic of the free wheeling financial climate in afghanistan of mismanagement
that led to a series of incredibly foolish real estate purchases in the united arab emirates at the height of the real estate market. huge amounts of the bank's capital going to those sorts of purchases and, of course, as that property market collapsed, the banks' investments collapsed. but also just very shoddy management and oversight and that, of course, gets to the political connections here because of the connections to the president's brother and the vice president's brother does that mean that the regulators-- whatever they are in afghanistan-- weren't really keeping tabs on what this bank was doing? >> warner: now the president's brother mahmood karzai, he directly benefited from bank funds, right? i mean, they were used to enrich him. >> indeed. wand this sort of very curious shell game. he received a loan from the bank so he could buy shares in the bank. a very unorthodox practice. and then he received an additional loan to buy a
luxurious villa on the beach in dubai-the-that he then sold for something like a $800,000 profit. so he's clearly had a financial stake in all of this and has benefited. the question is by what connection is there to the president? we do know that the bank played a key role in helping to finance president hamid karzai's reelection bid last year. >> warner: that's right. the two top official there is were chief financial advisors to the campaign. now, to what degree does this situation offer a window into the broader problem of afghanistan corruption which we read a lot about and we hear alleged lot a lot but rarely are there actual particulars that are easy to understand. >> well, i think what this shows us is that corruption is endemic in afghanistan. it not only affects the largest banks but a whole series of other institutions, public and private. and it's sapping public confidence in the afghan government which leads directly
to the security situation and the problems the country faces. a big driver of the insurgency is simply public... the lack of public confidence in the afghan government. and they look at these senior officials and say they're enriching themselves in these sorts of illegal ways, why should i throw my support behind the government? the taliban, draconian as it is, is offering to afghan people or saying to the afghan people we promise you good clean governance. >> warner: now, off story today reporting that the afghan president, president karzai, is just taking steps now that will make it harder to get at this broader problem of corruption. >> indeed. what the president has said he intends to do is to restrict the activities of u.s. and british advisors to the principle anticorruption agencies within the ministry of interior. and these are agencies that have
actually investigated and arrest ed several officials in country, including most recently a top aide in karzai's presidential palace. and what karzai said is those foreign advisors now have to take a backseat role, just do training, they can't be involved in actually shaping these investigations. he's also going to prohibit the united states from helping to what they say plus-up the salaries of some of these investigators so that they can attract the best people. and he's also saying that the united states can't really is a role in helping to select afghans to work on these investigative units. >> warner: and the obama administration, how has it reacted to this? is it trying to convince karzai not to do it? >> it's not saying a whole lot publicly, there's a whole lot of behind-the-scenes actions trying to get karzai to back away from some of these things. they recognize the issue of afghan sarchty and karzai's argument that when this aide was arrested that they barged in in the middle of the night and
that's ruffle add lot of feathers there but they say look, to get the support of the u.s. congress for funds and what not, you need to be more transparent and you peed to support these bodies. >> warner: rajiv chandrasekaran, thank you. goo. >> good to talk to you. >> lehrer: now, a story about hearts and minds-- that's purple hearts-- and soldiers with traumatic brain injuries suffered in combat. our report is an unusual public media collaboration. the "newshour" worked with our colleagues at pbs' "frontline" to produce this story. it was based on the reporting of t. christian miller of the online reporting web site, "pro publica," and daniel zwerdling of national public radio. he's the one with the headsets on. >> i don't remember a lot anymore. i don't even remember a lot of my childhood anymore.
>> michelle dyarman was a major in the army. we met her at the farmhouse in pennsylvania where she grew up. >> coming here today, i got lost three times. i had to turn around and find my way three times. and i've driven that route many a time. >> dyarman was on the dean's list in college. she got a masters. but everything changed in iraq back in 2005. two days before christmas, dyarman's platoon was coming back from a mission. and a roadside bomb exploded in front of her, like the one in this archive footage. studies show the blast wave shoots through metal, it shoots through soldiers brains, and damages the brains cells and circuits. dyarman says its hazy, but she dyarman says it's hazy, but she remembers she wrenched her back and neck, and she thinks the medics gave her tylenol and valium.
>> i realized i had a screaming bad headache. take the worst headache you've ever had, and multiply it by about a thousand. and i've had an ongoing headache ever since. >> reporter: michelle's father, john, doesn't know what's wrong with her. >> she's not the person she was. michelle used to do everything for me. she used to take care of all my paperwork and stuff. i kind of help her now. >> oh, my goodness, that's all your records? dyarman's files tell the story. she's had to fight the army to figure out what's wrong with her brain. >> this box is heavy. >> six weeks after the explosion, the army sent dyarman back to the states. but she says she could hardly function. so the army sent her to walter reed hospital where they gave her counseling for post traumatic stress disorder and
physical therapy for her neck and back problems. >> anybody at walter reed or anywhere else in the military ever say to you, "michelle, there's something called a t.b.i. and you've been two blasts, perhaps you have one. we're going to look into this." >> no. >> dyarman's not alone. the pentagon's official figures show that 115,000 troops have suffered t.b.i.s. but some studies suggest the true number could be several times higher. most soldiers get better within days of a t.b.i. but dyarman's part of what researchers call the miserable minority-- their symptoms last for years, maybe forever. studies suggest there could be tens of thousands of soldiers like dyarman. yet dyarman's files that show that many commanders still don't
believe t.b.i.s are an injury. she says she's been denied several times for the purple heart. >> so what is it about the purple heart that feels especially important to you? >> it says that i was injured in combat, in a war. it's a part of history, and i can't seem to get that documented. >> for soldiers like dyarman, the purple heart says, "you faced the enemy. you sacrificed for your country." it's been awarded since the 1930s. >> purple hearts are awarded to united states soldiers who bravely met the attacks of communist bandits and suffered heroically under fire. >> the army spells out the kinds of injuries that merit purple hearts: wounds from enemy bullets, poison gas, and concussions from explosions, which is the same as t.b.i. >> the purple heart is only an indirect expression of the real appreciation of a grateful
nation. >> so, we went to the pentagon to find out why hasn't the army given purple hearts to many soldiers with t.b.i.? >> the purple heart shows that you did your job. you met with and closed with the enemy. that you went into harms way to stand up for something your country believes in. peter chiarelli is the second most powerful general in the army. he's the vice chief of staff, and he's the point man on health issues like t.b.i. >> these are the guys you've talked to here. chiarelli says it's true, some commanders still don't award purple hearts for concussion, despite the regulations. they still don't get that t.b.i.s really an injury. but he says he's trying to change that. >> we've got to change the culture of the army, we've got to change society, to get people the help they need for these hidden wounds. but it is a long process. just because you don't see
blood; just because you don't see a bullet hole; just because you don't see a missing appendage does not mean an individual hasn't been injured. >> so if i am a soldier or a marine and i am in a blast, and a doctor diagnoses me with having a concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury as a result of that blast, i should get the purple heart? >> yes, you should. >> no question. >> but you're going to have to go through a process. >> and then general chiarelli got into the fine print. and soldiers say that fine print makes it almost impossible for them to get the purple hearts they say they deserve. take nathan scheller. he was a tank commander, he suffered multiple concussions in iraq. he says, at first, he felt he didn't deserve a purple heart- some of his buddies lost their legs. but now that he's home, scheller realizes his brain doesn't work right anymore, and his wife miriam agrees. >> it's a lot more to even try to get his attention.
he repeats himself a lot more now that he's been home. in the five minutes he's telling a simple story, he'll tell that story five times. you can't see his injury. so there's even times when i as a spouse forget something's really going on with him. >> scheller was home from iraq for a year before doctors diagnosed his traumatic brain injury. they sent him to a brain rehabilitation clinic. but when it comes to the purple heart, he has to prove that he was wounded in a specific explosion on a specific day. he has to show that a doctor diagnosed his t.b.i., and treated him. that's a huge problem, because army doctors didn't keep many of those records on the battlefield. >> i would get told that i need this form, so i would get this form and start over. the army asks you how long were you knocked out for. how the hell do i know?
and then i find out that i don't have medical records. so i go get a sworn statement. i prepared all this paperwork myself and then i submitted it. >> to whom? >> to my commander. but it would never go any farther than this. >> so what is the policy? we asked the army two simple questions: which commanders rejected purple hearts for scheller and other soldiers with t.b.i.? and why? spokesmen told us they don't keep that information. but we obtained internal army documents, and they suggest one answer. these emails show that commanders in iraq debated whether they should give purple hearts to most soldiers with t.b.i. some thought it was like giving the purple heart for minor scrapes. and that mindset became official policy under general joseph caravlho, who ran the army's medical system in iraq. caravalho issued a memo, he said in many cases, soldiers would not get purple hearts if they only got minimal medical treatment.
the problem is, the official regulations don't say anything about how much treatment you have to get for a bullet wound of any other injury. so caravalhos memo creates a much tougher standard for t.b.i. caravalho wouldn't talk to us, but he told us by email that he was trying to help. we showed his memo to general chiarelli. >> were you aware of this memo before yesterday or today? >> no, i wasn't. i've asked my lawyers to look at it, okay, to make sure that we have not made this more restrictive than the army regulation. >> chiarelli says some soldiers with t.b.i.s have received purple hearts. but the pentagon told us they don't know how many and they don't know how many have been denied. >> i appreciate you bringing this to my attention, i will go down range and insure that i talk to them and let them know that they need to be more in line with the regulation. we asked officials at the pentagon what's the purple heart policy in afghanistan now that
the fighting and explosions are shifting there. they said, they're revising the policy. meanwhile, the military says they're making progress. they've just opened a center to study traumatic brain injury and they've rolled out a new policy designed to improve diagnosis and treatment. but, for soldiers like michelle dyarman, those changes haven't come fast enough. she's been fighting for proper treatment for almost five years. >> it feels like nobody cares, like i was left behind. and one of the things you always learn from the very beginning is never leave a soldier behind. i was left behind. dyarman and her family and friends say she's still struggling with her brain injury. and she's still waiting for her purple heart. >> lehrer: on our web site, you can explore how the "newshour" has followed the emergence of t.b.i. as a serious medical
issue in the military, plus find links to frontline's coverage of the subject. >> woodruff: finally tonight, the first in a two-part series of book conversations with thinkers on the right and left of the political spectrum. dick armey is chair of the work group works and author of the book "give us liberty: a tea party manifesto." dick armey, thank you for being with us. >> nice to be here. >> warner: what is the core of the tea party? what does it believe? >> i think if you talk to them they believe that the country is in serious danger by a government that's so excessive in its spending that it threats the insolvency of the nation. and their personal liberty. so these are... we call them small government conservatives, a constitutionally limited small government conservatives who
think the government has strayed to the point of peril for the nation. >> woodruff: and you write in the book about how the goal is to take over the republican party. that's the first goal. are you on track to do that this year? >> yeah. i think the idea is to reform the republican party, make it the party of constitutionally limited small government, perm innerty and make it, in fact, the answer to the democrat party rather than what is perceived lately by most of the folks i work with today as the echo to the democrat party . >> woodruff: is there a distinction between taking it over and reforming it? >> the idea is... there's a sort of practical politics here you start with the observation 99% of all people who hold office will be as democrats or republicans. so that's not going to change. the question is will the republicans in office be the constitutionally limited reagan republicans, small government republicans, that we need them to be? well, they will be if we require
that of them. they can't win the majority without this movement. it's the biggest swing vote on the field. and we're not going to come be like you, we insist you be like we need you to be. >> woodruff: but are you saying that the current leadership of the republican party, the republican national convention, the republican governors, republican house house and senate committees that they're not doing an adequate job of leading the party? >> we just find that political parties are not reliable, institutions from a policy point of view, they're whimsical, they're... the motives, their objectives, their defined purposes are always given by political definition. we want the decisions to be driven by policy definition. we think from the early days of the contract with america, which was a top-down inside job... >> couric: ... >> woodruff: back in the 1990s. >> they stayed true to policy goals and object i haves and we were proud of them for a while.
now we're out side the body, a bottom up group and they're saying we're going to reform your behavior to make you once again behave in a way we can dare to trust you and continue to support you. >> and you're already showing successes on the campaign trail. some of the candidates of the tea party has supported sharron angle in nevada, kennebunk in colorado. now democrats are saying these candidates may be acceptable inside a republican primary, but they're not going to do as well when they face a general election, a broader electorate. >> well, right now in this primary season, this movement's having its greatest impact on who is winning republican primaries. in the general election just for a little bit from now will define the outcomes that put the outcome in the minority in the house and quite possibly in the senate. and they know that. so right now they're a very
panicky party. >> woodruff: are you ready to make a forecast for november? >> i have no doubt the republicans thereby majority in the house. our only question is will that be a conservative majority or republican majority? a republican majority is not what we're looking for. we're looking for a conservative majority. it's possible-- and i attach a significant probability-- above 50%-- that the republicans could be in the ma joirty in the senate. but the republicans in the senate will be a more conservative group than they are now. i have no doubt about it . that after the elections of 2012 there will be a republican in the white house. now that's settled. president obama's already decided that. so the only way the democrats in my estimation could keep the white house in 2012 would be to replace him in their primary. i'm not sure they're up to that task. >> woodruff: we will see. >> we will see. now i'm on the record. is. >> woodruff: you're on the record.
the book "give us liberty." written by you and a coauthor, you're with this organization freedom works. a lot in here, dick armey, about organizing. community... down at the community level, what to do to get people to rallies, using different social media. it's clear you're focused on candidates and winning elections. are those candidates prepared to govern? >> first of all one thing we see in the current leadership? the house and senate, even the white house doesn't take a lot of preparation to get by the job but the fact of the matter is this book is written because these folks are so badly mischaracterized and, yes... >> woodruff: "these folks" meaning... tea party activists >> they're probably the kindest, most gentle souls we ever saw. we had a million of them in town september and they left the town cleaner than they found it. i don't see that happening very often.
but the fact of the matter is we are guided by the notion hard work beats daddy's money. there's so many people in the political punditry that look at the comparative checkbooks of candidates and say "this guy will win, that guy will lose." and we believe the guy with the more money isn't necessarily the winner if he goes against a well-organized activist organization like we can equip. >> woodruff: if the tea party gets its way, once it takes over the country, what changes would you like to see made? what agencies would you do away with? what programs would you cut? what would be the ideal government under the tea party? >> well, first of all, there has to be a comprehensive reduction in the size of the government. government is just so big, so incompetent and inefficient it's choking out the private sector. now, everybody agrees this can't be done unless you're willing to deal with entitlement spending. >> woodruff: that's social security and med care? >> like social security and
medicare. and so i think one of the first things we would argue, let all subscription to government support and assistance programs be voluntary. nobody should be required to take a government assistance. i think it is amazing that the government set themselves up as the insurer of first resort for everybody over 65 and they can't afford that. and yet they won't let people just voluntarily say well, i don't need your help, i don't want your help, let me off the hook. so there's all kinds of punitive sanctions to anybody who says no. so if, in fact, you just let that... you solve the long-term financial problem because the unfunded liabilities voluntarily take themselves off the list. >> woodruff: the argument to that... against that is that making it voluntary would destroy these programs. that they couldn't exist if they were voluntary. >> well, that's of course... i mean, again, if, in fact, there's no demand for you then so what? the fact of the matter is,
nobody's going to voluntarily give up government provided by health care unless they're confident in their ability to provide for themselves . and if you can provide for yourself, why in the world should your children and grandchildren be taxed to support you with your assistance. again, i guess i'm a little bit appalled by those folks that are so committed to a government program that they'll say to a citizen you sacrifice your liberty so i don't he to worry about me losing my program. is it about programs or person? >> woodruff: dick armey. very good to talk to you. thank you for being with us. and we have a very different perspective coming up soon. we have a very different perspective coming up soon. it's a conversation with liberal democrat arianna huffington about her book, "third world america: how our politicians are abandoning the middle class and betraying the american dream." >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: the pastor of a small florida church said he will not go ahead
with plans to burn the koran. he claimed it was part of a deal with muslim leaders in new york city to relocate the site of a controversial islamic community center. and, the government of iran announced plans to release one of three american hikers on saturday. sarah shourd has been imprisoned in iran for over a year. and to hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: we have a slideshow of recent images from the gulf oil spill narrated by associated press photographer gerald herbert. ray has penned a preview of a story on care at fort hood, texas for wounded soldiers returning from iraq and afghanistan. plus for teachers headed back to school, our "newshour extra" page offers current events lesson plans, a daily video clip and reports from students. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy? >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight.
i'm judy woodruff. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.